With a score of 53.1 on a scale of 1 to 100 and within the group of countries considered “mostly not free”, Argentina appears in position 149 (out of 180 countries evaluated) in the ranking of economic freedom 2020 prepared by the Foundation Heritage, a traditional think tank from the United States.
Thus, despite having risen very slightly (from 52.2 to 53.1 points) in its rating, the country fell one notch compared to the 148 position it had occupied in the 2019 ranking, when Heritage also rated 180 countries.
Argentina is preceded in the ranking by Brazil and four African countries: Cameroon, Zambia, Ethiopia and Guinea Bissau, and in terms of economic freedom it takes the advantage of the Solomon Islands, Djibouti, Malawi, Haiti and Angola.
Based on a variety of sources, including the World Bank, the Heritage Foundation prepares its ranking annually by taking four groups of indicators: Rule of law (sub-indexes of Property Rights, Legal Effectiveness and Government Integrity), Size of the State ( Tax Pressure, Public Expenditure and Fiscal Health), Regulatory Efficiency (Business freedoms, in the labor market and in the money market) and Market Opening (Freedom of Commerce, Investment and Finance).
Argentina obtains its best rating in the commercial (69.2) and financial (60) freedoms and, curiously, in the tax burden (69.6) and freedom of business (62.6). The worst rating, by far, is obtained in “Fiscal Health” (24.2) and in the indices related to the Rule of Law: 49.7 points in terms of “Government Integrity” and 47 in “Legal Effectiveness”.
“Well below average”
In its comment on Argentina, Heritage highlights that it ranks 26th among the 32 countries of the Americas, they are a score “well below the world average and the regional average.
The report recalls that the country had fallen into the “repressed” economy category between 2012 and 2016 and that it had made progress in the initial part of the Mauricio Macri administration, but as of 2018 it went into recession and halted reforms to reduce inefficiencies and increase productivity in the economy.
Rising inflation, high interest rates and exchange rate volatility ended up obscuring the progress Macri had made in investor relations and trade, Heritage says in its summary on Argentina. And he adds that with the return of Peronism to power the prospects for reforms that increase the country’s economic freedom have faded.
At the top of the ranking, ranked with an overall score of 89.3 is Singapore, which together with Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland and Ireland make up the category of economically “free” countries. To reach this category, the Heritage Foundation requires a score greater than 80 points.
Then comes the peloton of the “mostly free” countries (70 to 79.9 points) for achieving economic activities, in which the first Latin American country, Chile, appears in position 15 in the general ranking, with 76.8 points.
A posteriori comes the group of “moderately free” economies (60 to 69.9 points) which includes several Latin American countries: Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Paraguay, El Salvador and Honduras.
Just then In the largest group in the ranking, which covers positions 100 to 161, Argentina appears in the lower part, with its 53.1 points in position 149 in the general ranking.
The last group is that of the “repressed” economies (score from 9 to 49.9 points), in which only three Latin American countries, Bolivia, Cuba, and Venezuela, are covered. The dictatorship headed by Nicolás Maduro it appears in position 179 and surpasses only the dynastic autocracy of North Korea.
Outside the ranking six countries appear that the Foundation could not evaluate: Iraq, Libya, Lichtenstein, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. That is, countries seriously affected (except Lichtenstein) by internal conflicts and war situations.